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Prepare to present the best version of yourself!

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Facing any interview is a nerve-wrecking experience for most people particularly when you are interviewing for a job that you really want to get.

 

Regardless of the outcome, attending interviews is a great learning curve and you will definitely get better at them with experience. By preparing well for each interview, putting in the best effort possible in terms of performance, doing some post-interview analysis and seeking feedback you will greatly improve on your interview techniques and your chance of getting your dream job. Although the setting is very different for virtual interviews, for example via Skype or Zoom, the general guiding principles are the same. Be confident in yourself – you have gotten to interview stage, now you just need to show the employer that you are the person for the job!

Before the interview

As mentioned in the previous article be clear on the type of interview you are attending, know what is in store. Know your CV or application form well, the interviewers will be looking for you to expand further on the important aspects so make sure you can stand over and give plenty evidence of all the details you have included about yourself, your work experience and education. Know the job specification and description well so that all the answers you give reflect how well your skills and qualities suit the role and company.

Research the company by checking out their website and their social media. Pay particular attention to LinkedIn for information on the company and employees and search the media for any recent articles on how the company is performing, any new products they have launched or awards they have received and keep an eye out for any links they have to community, environmental or social responsibility initiatives. Talk to anyone you know who works with the company or organisation. Find out as much as you possibly can. Prepare and practice question out loud (see suggestions below), record yourself on your phone and listen back.

Dress appropriately depending on the level of the position and the working environment. You may not need a suit but you certainly need to look smart and professional. Arrive in plenty of time and give yourself enough head space to be ready to perform well. Nerves are perfectly normal and in fact help to keep you alert and focused. They usually subside after the first couple of minutes once you settle into the atmosphere of the interview room. Get some fresh air before you go in, it helps to clear your head and settle the nerves. Use breathing exercises to relax if needed. When introduced to the interview board greet each one individually with a nod and a smile – no handshakes due to COVID-19.

During the interview

Focus on and try to maintain eye contact with the interviewer who has asked the question. Generally interviewers will start by asking you to tell them about yourself. This is to settle you in. Prepare this in advance so that you don’t waffle on and concentrate on the important things they need to know about you professionally – your experience, education, key skills and qualities – but keep it brief! The wording of other questions varies but essentially all employers want to know why you want to work for them, why you applied for the job, what key skills, qualities and competencies you have that make you suitable for the job and what makes you stand out from other applicants, basically why they should hire you.

Prepare these answers in advance by looking closely at the job specification and highlighting the keywords. Use them in your answers. When answering, try to keep a structure on your answer particularly when asked for evidence of your skills and competencies such as teamwork, problem-solving, effective communication. Use the STAR format – Describe the Situation (background or context), the Task (give specifics), the Actions you took (use ‘I’ statements) and the Result (include what you learned from it).

Make sure you get the opportunity to give them your Unique Selling Point (USP) - what makes you stand out from others, and don’t be shy about talking positively about yourself professionally. It can be effective to use this at the end if they ask you if you have anything to add.

After the interview

Breathe a sigh of relief and congratulate yourself on getting through it! Jot down all the questions you were asked or as many as you can remember and make note of what you felt you did well in and areas for improvement in future interviews. Relax and wait for a result.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore & PRO of Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She can be contacted on careerfocusnow@gmail.com

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Muckross Rowing Club members on Irish teams for two major regattas

  Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events. Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse […]

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Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events.

Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta.

Daniel Fleming and Ian Coffey have both been selected for the Under 19 Irish squad to race at the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta for European junior rowers. The Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta, involving 16 European countries, will be held over from over three days, August 9-11 in Racice, Czechia.

Four Under 23 university rowers from the Muckross club have also been selected as part of the Senior Irish squad for the Home International Regatta this month.

Niamh Coffey (University of Limerick), Patrick Buckley (University of Limerick), Finn O’Sullivan (University of Limerick) and Ethan O’Neill (University College Cork Rowing Club) will take on the ‘Triple Crown’ event of rowing, competing for Ireland against crews from England, Scotland and Wales.

The Home International Regatta will be held on Saturday, July 27 in Strathclyde, Scotland.

All six Muckross rowers have earned their green jerseys following a lengthy and testing trial series on land and water which began in Autumn 2023 and culminated in final water trials at the end of June.

“Muckross Rowing Club sends its best wishes to the very talented Muckross oarsmen and women and all their crewmates as they fly the flag for Ireland this summer. The talented group build on a successful record in the sport,” said club PRO Tim O’Shea.

Niamh Coffey is a multiple Irish and University Championship winner and has previously represented Ireland in the Under 23 European Championships.

In 2022, O’Neill rowed at Junior level at the Home International event and won a gold medal as part of the Irish quadruple scull crew in the 500m sprint event.

Both Buckley and O’Sullivan continue to compete at the highest level nationally with the University of Limerick Rowing Club,  and join the Irish squad for the first time this year.

The international selections come at an exciting time before the Olympic Regatta in Paris, where Zoe Hyde (Tralee Rowing Club) will be among the largest Irish rowing contingent of 16 rowers to contest an Olympic Games.

Killorglin native Zoe has previously rowed for both Killorglin and Muckross rowing clubs and will race the Women’s Double event for Ireland with Alison Bergin (Fermoy Rowing Club) in Paris.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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